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Joey Calderazzo: Joey Calderazzo

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With heightened economy and greater relaxation in his playing, the pianist has moved from the assertiveness of youth into a maturity that becomes him and justifies all that talk a few years ago about his potential. This is hardly to suggest that Calderazzo has lapsed into reflectiveness. Even if he were so inclined, it is unlikely that a bassist and drummer of John Patitucci’s and Jeff Watts’ explosiveness and exploratory leanings would cut him much slack. The three nudge and push one another and yet maintain the intense mutual listening that transforms three instruments into a trio, an entity.

Calderazzo was plainly moving in the direction of greater mutuality on a couple of recent Michael Brecker albums, especially in his interaction with Watts on Two Blocks From the Edge (Impulse!). Here, he has arrived. He and Watts are on the same rhythmic wavelength. Patitucci, newer to their game, absorbs the aesthetic. There is no better evidence of his integration into their approach than in the first chorus of Bill Evans’ “Time Remembered,” in which he, Watts and Calderazzo clearly have in mind the interplay of Scott LaFaro, Paul Motian and Evans and make it a living tradition, not an imitation. Watts’ solo on “Detonation” includes a perfectly placed (and, because of its placement, funny) “Salt Peanuts” quote and a delicious delayed ending. Calderazzo’s lyrical and, yes, reflective “Catania” is a demonstration of his and the group’s variety with dynamics. Those are a few of the highlights on a splendid trio CD led by a pianist whose work is increasingly satisfying.